cat·​a·​clysm | \ ˈka-tə-ˌkli-zəm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio) \

Definition of cataclysm

1 : flood, deluge
3 : a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition broadly : an event that brings great changes an international economic cataclysm

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Other Words from cataclysm

cataclysmal \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​məl How to pronounce cataclysm (audio) \ or cataclysmic \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​mik How to pronounce cataclysm (audio) \ adjective
cataclysmically \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈkliz-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce cataclysm (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for cataclysm



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Examples of cataclysm in a Sentence

floods, earthquakes, and other cataclysms The country barely survived the cataclysm of war. The revolution could result in worldwide cataclysm.
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Recent Examples on the Web The cataclysm of 9/11 proved a powerful inspiration for a generation of Islamist extremists. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, eight politicians shared their reflections on how the cataclysm of Sept. 11 shaped their own lives and guided their approach to politics. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 In short, a default would be an economic cataclysm. Matt Egan, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 The cataclysm has also contributed to other changes large and small that have reshaped the airline industry — and, for consumers, made air travel more stressful than ever. David Koenig, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Sep. 2021 But the bottom line is that climate science, and the cataclysm of climate change, has lurched into the present tense. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 9 Aug. 2021 More powerful than Krakatoa, this ancient cataclysm in the southern Aegean Sea would have been witnessed by anyone living within hundreds of miles of the blast. Timothy John Burbery, The Conversation, 6 Aug. 2021 How fitting, then, that fire welds together the works headlining the inaugural Opera Festival of Chicago, 150 years after that cataclysm stopped the city in its tracks. Hannah Edgar,, 23 July 2021 In light of the cataclysm that was about to engulf the gay community, the pictures now have an elegiac quality. Brian Dillon, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cataclysm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cataclysm

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cataclysm

French cataclysme, from Latin cataclysmos, from Greek kataklysmos, from kataklyzein to inundate, from kata- + klyzein to wash — more at clyster

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Time Traveler for cataclysm

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The first known use of cataclysm was in 1599

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cataclysm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of cataclysm

: something that causes great destruction, violence, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on cataclysm

Nglish: Translation of cataclysm for Spanish Speakers


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